The same tactics that work great for magazines can build your blog as well.
If you’re reading this, you probably fell victim to a few of the secrets of the magazine industry and didn’t even know it. Before I share what these secrets are, I want to tell you why I even know them.
Several years ago, I worked for a magazine publisher. The magazine industry was really starting to feel the effect of the web, and everyone was looking for a way to increase readership and subscriptions. I went to a marketing conference focused on ways the magazine industry could save itself. There were a lot of ideas for each division of the magazine, from using different paper to changing subscription costs, but the biggest ideas involved changing the approach of creating content.
I love magazines. I love the photos and the feel of the glossy paper, the long articles and even the ads, but honestly, I don’t have time to sit down and enjoy them like I did years ago. I am super busy and I need to get my information quickly and in easy digestible bites.
I’m not the only one who likes to read this way, and the magazine industry realized this. They knew most people are not looking for long articles, and if they wanted to survive they needed to change. The odd thing? These same tactics work great on your blog or website as well.
What Are These Secrets?
1. Decide Who Your Audience Is and Speak Directly to Them
There is a temptation to try and talk to all audiences, but when you do that, you tend to not have any loyal readers because a lot of the content just isn’t interesting to them. The magazine industry has now become super niche because it needed to attract more readers. Shape magazine targets women, Seventeen magazine targets teen girls 13 to 17, and Men’s Health magazine targets men. It’s okay to do this. If you try to speak to everyone, your message will be all over the board and you’ll actually reach fewer people.
We were guilty of this here at Infomedia, and we had to decide who we are talking to.
2. Write about the Subjects Your Audience Wants to Read
Once you decide on the audience, write articles that interest your target market. The magazine industry figured out the topics that these groups would be the most interested in and then started creating lots of copy about those subjects. Sometimes the information is so similar that it seems like the magazine already ran it, but they repackage and run it in a unique way, or they take a slightly different angle, and that helps a certain group of readers assimilate the information.
3. Create Headlines with Numbered Lists
Every magazine does this now with headlines on the cover to draw people in, and it works. Why? I think there are two reasons:
A. Everyone is busy. If you see a Top 10 list or Top Five list, you subconsciously think, “This is some good information and I am going to gain this knowledge really fast. It is worth two minutes of my time.”
B. Everyone has an opinion, and the reader wants to see if your list matches up with theirs.
4. Make the Content Super Easy to Read
It has been proven that spacing, bolding, font size and bullet points can make reading longer documents easier, and magazines capitalize on that information.
Think about that person who has to look over a stack of 200 resumes. After about the fourth resume, even the most caring HR executive is going to start scanning and looking for bullet points and bold words. This is just human nature. There has to be something different to really get their attention. The same is true for magazines and your blog posts. If you don’t space out the content and make it easy to read, people are going to take off. And don’t think more words = better SEO. SEO optimization depends on using the right words.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Scare Tactics or Share Secrets
Fear of loss is a huge motivator and you can use it to increase readership. “Ten Things to Never Do at Work,” “Don’t Ever Say These Three Things to Your Wife,” and “Three Ways to Ruin Your Vacation” are all examples of scare tactics that draw people in.
The reason for using “secrets” in your headline is obvious: We love secrets. From little kids to adults, we all love a good secret. We want to know something that we shouldn’t or something that just a select group of people know. It makes us feel smart when we get to use this secret to gain an advantage or get to share the secret with everyone else.
Will making these changes make your blog explode with increased traffic to your website overnight? No, but they can help your blog become a more solid traffic driver and lead generator over time. Also, using these tips will increase the likelihood of people sharing your blog post on social media and commenting on your posts.
If you would like to talk more about blogging, online marketing or anything digital, we would love to sit down with you. Give us a call at 205-823-4440 or fill out our contact form and we will give you a call.